Week 2 Food Log 6.5/10

This is my second week keeping a food log. I don’t think it changes what I eat, but it does keep a record for me to see. I like that.

Sometimes we think we’re eating well, and then when we look at what we actually ate…yikes!

Other times we think we’re way off course, and then we learn that we’re doing ok. I don’t have a specific reference, but I’ve heard many times that research shows people who keep a food log are more likely to meet their weight-loss goals.

Items in italics are what I would call “non-compliant”, meaning they do not fit into my definition of healthy eating. Now and again, I don’t think they’re a big deal, but it’s important for me to be aware of how often I consume them. I always include alcohol in the non-compliant foods.

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Week 2 Summary 6.5/10

I’m giving myself a 6.5/10 for this week. I don’t have a system for coming up with this number; it’s just my gut feeling after looking over the week.

My goal for this week was to drink less alcohol, but it looks like I had more. I indulged a bit on Mother’s Day. I exercised less this week, so I guess it’s for these two reasons that I rated myself lower than last week.

Something really important I’m learning is to not be hard on myself when I don’t achieve my goals. Even more important is to not give up. I will continue to focus on eating 90%+ plant-based and unprocessed food.

May 8

2.4 km walk

-half baked potato, asparagus, Brussels sprouts and mushrooms (leftover from restaurant)

-baked potato

-baked potato again for a morning snack

-salad of mixed greens, lima beans, broccoli, hummus (with oil), banana peppers and balsamic dressing (with oil)

-curried potato and vegetables with white rice

-grape tomatoes

-homemade quinoa bread with homemade hummus (no oil) and regular hummus (with oil)

-chopped salad: kale, arugula, romaine, tomato, red onion, homemade dressing (1 avocado, lime juice, water, 2 dates, handful of cilantro)

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-corn on the cob

-mushrooms, asparagus and Brussels sprouts (leftover from restaurant-cooked in oil or butter)

2 glasses of red wine

-homemade quinoa bread with natural peanut butter (no added oil)

3.7 km walk

May 9

-baked potato

-Starbucks matcha tea latte made with soy milk and with one portion of the liquid cane sugar

-baked potato

-grape tomatoes

-salad with mixed greens, kale, carrot, chickpeas, hummus and oil dressing

-cream of leek soup

-baked potato

-mushrooms

-Brussels sprouts

popcorn cooked in oil

-club soda

May 10

-homemade matcha tea latte with soy milk, dates and turmeric

-grape tomatoes

-baked potato

-salad-mixed greens with mushrooms, hummus (oil), Balsamic dressing (oil) cucumber, banana peppers

half piece of rye bread with hummus (oil)

-mushrooms and Brussel sprouts with a homemade sauce (almond butter, soy milk, hummus, sweet Thai chili sauce, and garlic)

-1.5 Beyond Meat burger with 1.5 pieces of bread with tomato, romaine, red onion, guacamole and mustard.

-red grapes

-2 glasses of red wine

-1 Old Fashioned

-“ice cream” made with frozen banana, dates and frozen mixed berries

May 11

-Starbucks matcha tea latte with one portion of liquid cane sugar

-grape tomatoes

-snap peas

-1/2 baked potato

-salad with mixed greens, kale, tomato, cucumber, chick peas and oil dressing

white rice with veggies

-1/2 baked potato

-mandarin orange

-kale salad with pumpkin seeds and a lemon/oil dressing (restaurant)

-linguine with tomato sauce and mushrooms, tomatoes, red onions and broccoli (some oil in sauce)

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1/2 piece of garlic toast (white bread with butter)

-1 Old Fashioned

-1/2 glass of red wine

May 12

-2 shots espresso with soy milk

-mushroom and Brussel sprouts with a homemade sauce (almond butter, soy milk, hummus, sweet Thai chili sauce, and garlic)

-smoothie: banana, mixed frozen berries, dates, peanut butter powder, soy milk, water

soup: Amy’s Pea soup with my addition of chopped, steamed potato, kale and Brussell Sprouts

corn chips (organic corn and water…done in my oven)

-homemade salsa (yellow peppers, tomatoes, cucumber, red cabbage, jalapeno, red onion, lime juice and sea salt)

-homemade guacamole: avocados, lime juice and sea salt

May 13

-spinach, kale and red onion sautéed in a bit of water

-Starbucks matcha tea latte with 1 part sugar

-Fruit: blackberries, raspberries, mango, kiwi

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-Taco bowl from restaurant (may have some oil): white rice flavoured with lime and cilantro, black beans, salsa, lettuce, jalapeños, corn

-corn chips (organic corn and water only)

-store bought salsa and guacamole

-grape tomatoes, snap peas and cucumber with hummus

2 Beyond Meat burger patties wrapped in romaine leaves with tomato, red onion, mustard, hp sauce

-grilled veggies (red pepper, red onion, asparagus and mushrooms)

-baby potatoes

-vegan chocolate cupcake

3 glasses of wine, 2 glasses of sparkling wine and 1.5 Old Fashioned…over a 6 hour period

May 14

-zucchini

-grape tomatoes

-snap peas

-1/2 baked potato

-spinach salad with: grape tomatoes, cucumber, banana peppers, hummus and some oil-based dressing

-1.5 black bean patty

-1 cup broth (likely a chicken broth)

-corn chips (organic corn and water only)

-homemade salsa (yellow peppers, tomatoes, cucumber, jalapeno, red onion, lime juice and sea salt)

-homemade guacamole: avocados, lime juice and sea salt

-club soda

Looking forward to continuing my commitment to better health this week!

Wishing you health and success on your journey,

SignatureAli

Progress Report #2

It’s been three months since I decided to transform my life, and about six weeks since my last progress report. Here’s how things are shaping up.

No Alcohol at Home

Early in 2018, my husband and I chose to reduce our alcohol intake by not drinking at home. It wasn’t because of an alcohol “problem”, but to change our habits to become healthier. Few benefits come from drinking alcohol.

Whatever benefits are in beverages like wine, which we often hear about, there are more benefits in getting those same nutrients/phytochemicals etc. from the whole food (aka: grapes). Alcohol = empty calories, so since part of my health goals include losing weight, minimizing alcohol is a good thing.

Our mid-January commitment to not drink any alcohol at home was a success! Between Jan. 13 and April 1, we did not drink any wine, martinis etc. at home. We went out on the weekends to indulge, and a few times we went out during the week.

On April 2, we had our first drinks at home, a couple glasses of wine. I actually took a picture and sent it to my friend in a text, to let her know I had caved in. You know what her response was?

text

Isn’t that amazing? She saw only the positive, while I viewed the whole thing through a negative lens. I learned something that day, or rather, it confirmed something for me. Even though I consider myself a positive person, I continue to be quite hard on myself.

A goal for me is to look at myself more positively.

What’s really cool about the original alcohol challenge is that I find that I’m just not as interested in drinking alcohol as I was before. I consume less whether I am at home or out.

Healthy Food               

I continue to focus on eating healthy food. After our trip to Mexico in March, I jumped back into my regular routine. We focus on eating whole foods that are plant-based, and we cook our own food at home. I will admit, we do tend to go to restaurants on the weekend.

Do you hear that? That’s me being hard on myself again! Instead of thinking, “Way to go for cooking at home during the week!”, I somehow focused on the treats on the weekend. It takes time to change your thinking patterns, so I’ll keep working on it.

I continue to keep staples, like cooked oatmeal and brown rice, in the fridge. Canned beans and fresh vegetables and greens are always handy. We’re in the habit of keeping healthy, whole foods on hand, so this habit really helps us stay on track.

Exercise

I really haven’t kept up with my exercise goal of moving my body everyday. I walk on the treadmill in my basement occasionally, but I haven’t done that for a little while now.

I’m totally ok with that because I know it’s the food that’s my main problem. Moving my body each day is still important to me, but it’s on the back burner for a bit.

Weight Loss

My weight is the same as it was at my first progress report. I’m still down 5-6 lbs since mid-January. I know I’m doing something right because my weight is not up.

I don’t see the lack of weight loss as a negative at all. I will just continue on my journey, learning from my successes and mistakes.

Attitude

I’m feeling awesome! The arrival of spring has helped I’m sure, but it’s more than that.

I’m continuing with my goals and not giving up. When I veer off course a bit, like when I snacked on potato chips yesterday, I enjoy it and move on. Yay for me!

Just. Keep. Going.

What’s Next?

For the past week I’ve been directing my attention towards consuming food as close to 100% plant-based as possible.

I recently watched a documentary, H.O.P.E.: What You Eat Matters, which was excellent.

During the first part, it addresses the health benefits of eating plant-based. Then it moves on to look at the effects of factory farming on the environment and animals. Very eye-opening.

I’d highly recommend this documentary.  It makes the point that what we put in our mouths DOES matter to our health, to the environment and to animal welfare.

H.O.P.E.: What We Eat Matters reminded me how much I really don’t want to eat animal products. At this point in my life, I am about 90% plant-based. I’m proud of that, but have room for improvement.

Aside from focusing on eating more whole, plant-based foods, I don’t have any other changes planned. I’ll continue my journey, and I look forward to taking a break from teaching when my summer vacation arrives in late June. Until then…

Wishing you health and success on your journey,

SignatureAli

Inspired to Become the REAL ME!

A week ago, on Jan. 14, I decided to become the real me. I’m really excited to let the real me blossom and to get to know her again. Nice to meet you: healthy, active and vibrant Ali!

I’ve been trying since Jan. 1, 2010 to become the person I want to be. If you look in the archives of this blog, you’ll see I’ve been on and off again at writing about my health journey since the summer of August, 2013.

Before I go on, I must tell you that starting this blog was thanks to a good friend of mine, Susan Kuz (you can find out more about her and how amazing she is at teaching/coaching people and organizations at beingpukka). She encouraged me to share my ideas about eating healthy foods, even though I didn’t think I was “good enough” to do so because I hadn’t yet achieved my own health goals. Well, I wasn’t perfect, and I realized that was ok. Thanks, Susan!

So, feel free to join me on my imperfect journey.

I’ve learned over years how each of us is on a journey to health, our own customized journey.  Even if you’re at your perfect weight and feel your health is ideal, you continue on your journey each day, month and year that passes. Health isn’t achieved, and then, “Ta da!” we check off that box on our To Do list. Being healthy today doesn’t mean you’ll be healthy tomorrow unless your journey of seeking health continues.

Ok. Back to the future real me. I have a vision of that person; it isn’t about weight and size, but more about lifestyle. By living a lifestyle I see as healthy and most beneficial for me physically and mentally, I will feel good, and as a by-product, naturally lose the extra 40-50 pounds weighing me down. I’ll have energy in my body and my mind.

I am 52 years old, and 5’ 6”. I’m not sure what my ideal weight is, but I feel confident I’ll know it when I get there based on how I feel. I look forward to the discovery.

What led to my decision to find the real me? A few things:

  • I am close to my highest weight.
  • I veered off course the last few months, eating unhealthy food on a regular basis.
  • I feel slow, unhealthy and fat.
  • My clothes are tight.
  • I feel uncomfortable in my own body.
  • I felt inspired after listening to a Rich Roll podcast where he interviewed Charlie Jabaley, who lost a whole bunch of weight and turned his life around.

I was inspired by the podcast, but it wasn’t the first time I felt determined to seek health. Each time I’m excited by a book, article, video, podcast or conversation, it kick-starts my energy, desires and motivation about things that are important to me.

Who is the Real Me?

  • Physically healthy and vibrant
  • Mentally strong and energetic
  • At an ideal/comfortable weight for my body

That’s it. Sounds like something most of us want, but at the same time, it seems impossible to achieve. Of course it’s not impossible, but it’s challenging. For many of us, life gets in the way. But that’s not really true. We allow life to get in the way.

Ok. Here’s my plan, ‘cause I’ve got to have a plan.

I need to remind myself every single day about who I want to be. About the person I want to become. I can see her:

  • She rises in the morning with energy
  • She eats food for fuel and doesn’t obsess about food
  • She eats real, whole food that is as close to its natural form as possible, most of the time
  • She eats a plant-based diet, most of the time
  • She consumes alcohol infrequently (once a week or so)
  • She exercises for joy, fitness and energy at least 3-5 times a week (walking, running and whatever else feels good)

Ok…so now I know what I want and I know what I want to be doing. What next? This is the wall that many of us run into. HOW CAN I DO THIS?

Let’s get back to that inspiration I was talking about for a minute. I’m not saying I feel a little inspiration to eat better and get healthy. I am inspired to make my own personal transformation.  

It’s beyond making changes. I’ve tried that. A complete lifestyle overhaul is in order.

Uh oh…there’s that fear creeping into the conversation. Did you feel it?

  • Fear that it will be difficult
  • Fear that I don’t really want to live without the unhealthy foods
  • Fear that I will fail again
  • Fear that I will start something but not finish it all the way through and be consistent
  • Fear that I can’t do it myself

Wait a minute. Did I just say “can’t?

I deeply believe people can accomplish anything they want.  I really do, to my core. Within reason. Can I lose 20 pounds in 5 days without cutting off some limbs? Not realistic.

So, if I believe other people can accomplish almost anything they really want, and if that is one of my core beliefs, then of course I can do it. There is no can’t. My life is up to me.

How empowering! Let me just soak that in for a minute. I CAN do it. I have the POWER to be the real me! WOW!!

Having true power also means if I don’t transform myself, it’s because I choose not to. When I’m faced with obstacles, will I choose to push forward to find the real me, or will I give in to the easy, familiar route?

The funny thing is that there are people who don’t know what to do to successfully lose weight, get healthy and live an active lifestyle. But I DO know what to do. I know exactly what to do, and it works!

So why don’t I do it, consistently? I’ve tried many times to make a change. I’ve had some successes.

I think it’s the lifestyle. My husband and I spend a lot of our free time together, and we have the same interests. Our energies are focused on “relaxing”, whether we do it at home or in a restaurant. It involves food, often wine or martinis and if we’re at home, Netflix. Well, that doesn’t sound like the healthy energy-filled lifestyle I want, does it?

My husband and I do a lot of talking. We make a lot of “we should” plans. We start and then we fall back into our familiar routine and fizzle out. We lose weight together. We gain weight together.

For true success, I need to decide what I want. I need to want it so bad that even when I’m stressed, or angry or feeling low or when temptations and influences pop up, I still commit to finding the real me.

Like I said, I’ve had successes before. I lost 14 lbs in two weeks eating real plants without any added crap (sugar, oil, processed food, animal products). With no exercise! I didn’t starve myself either. I was eating mashed potatoes almost every day with a yummy plant-based, very low-fat mushroom gravy. The food tasted great! It really worked while I was committed.

In 2017 I was consistently plant-based for 7.5 months. I was very proud of myself during those months, and I thought I had it mastered.

In the summer of 2017 my husband and I did a 15-day water fast. It was difficult, but I learned a lot about my body and about what I want in life. Sure, I dropped over 20 lbs, but that’s not a realistic weight loss. My body cleaned out a lot of crap, but I didn’t continue afterwards with a healthy diet. I went back to my old ways when I allowed stress to be my master.

A couple of years ago, I ate only raw foods for four weeks. I felt terrific, and I think doing such a cleanse can really help you clean out. It can also be a good kick-start to weight loss, but it’s not sustainable.

I’ve had other successes too; they just didn’t stick.  Eventually, I fell back into my old ways because I didn’t fully commit to transforming myself. I was still hanging on to the lifestyle.

I KNOW WHAT to do. I KNOW I can do it.

It’s been a week since I started my personal transformation.

I’m doing well so far! Down a few pounds and I feel terrific. I am sleeping better and already have more energy each day. I feel happier too. Happier because I feel good and because I’m excited about the future.

I FEEL GREAT and can’t wait to see how things turn out.

Wish me luck on my journey, and of course, I wish you health and success on your own journey.

SignatureAli

Loving My Plants

I’ve been plant-based (attempt # ?) since Jan. 4, 2017.

Can you see the smile on my face?

I’m proud of myself because I’ve been trying, since Jan. 2010, to be fully plant-based.

I think this time, I’m more aware of the injustices happening to animals. I don’t want to contribute to animal cruelty.

Wish me well on my continued journey; and I wish you well on whatever journey you may be traveling.

Alison 🙂

Day 6 Plant Eating Challenge

I am three pounds down, since I began this plant eating challenge.

Today was successful! I took a day of rest from exercising in the am. I will be up tomorrow, before 6 a.m. to ensure I keep on track and continue with development of the habit of getting up early and working out.

I had my two smoothies, leftover stoup (soup/stew) for lunch, as well as some orzo pasta and broccoli (may have been oil in that).

I had a banana for a late afternoon snack; for dinner: two baked potatoes with horseradish and a bowl of cooked corn/green beans. Nothing fancy…just fuel for the body.

Not much to write today…I just want to keep my posts regular for accountability’s sake.

Day 4 and 5 Plant-Eating Challenge

My daughter and I are both still on track with our Plant Eating Challenge, and we feel great.

I had my usual two smoothies, yesterday and today, and I worked out in the am both days. Pat on the back for me!

Lunch was the usual reheated homemade yumminess (stew, soup or stoup, or is stewp better?…a combo). I did have a little bit of pasta with tomato sauce-this is not the ideal food as it is processed, and not made from a whole grain. Also, there was probably oil and sugar in the sauce.

For dinner tonight I made two dishes. My meals are always…”how fast can I make this?” I am usually a wingin’ it kind of cook.

Dish #1: Chunky/Creamy Broccoli Soup

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Ingredients (measurements are not exact)

  • 3 cups chopped broccoli florets with some of the stem
  • 1.5 cups organic veggie broth
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1 cup homemade rice milk
  • 1 onion
  • 1/2 cup rice
  • 3 potatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions: Most recipes call for sauteeing this, and blah, blah blahing that…I’m too impatient. I just put all the ingredients into a pot and heat until the broccoli is cooked. Then, into the blender for a few spins. Back into the pot, to simmer while the flavours blend. Then I add 3 cooked potatoes; chop them up, skin and all. Add a bit of salt/pepper or some nutritional yeast, and voila! A hearty soup. This would work really well with cauliflower too…hmmm…I’m getting ahead of myself.

Dish #2: Rice with Asian Mushroom Sauce

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Ingredients (measurements not exact)

  • Variety of mushrooms (about4- 6 cups chopped)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/8 cup cornstarch blended in 3/4 cup water
  • 2 green onion stalks
  • 1 tablespoon soya sauce
  • 1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ginger

Instructions: Place 1 cup water into large sautee pan. Turn heat to high. Throw in the mushrooms for about 2 minutes, and then turn heat down to med-high. Let mushrooms cook for several minutes. Add sauces and spices. Add water/cornstarch mixture. Stir over medium heat, continuously for about 2 minues. Add green onions. Throw over a bowl of rice, or eat as a delicious soup on its own.

After dinner, I ejoyed a couple of glasses of red wine. Yum But, I wonder, how will this interfere with my energetic healthy feeling I have been living for the past few days?

Here are some things that are helping me succeed on this Plant Eating Challenge

1. After reading The Monk who Sold his Ferrari, I found the author’s videos on Youtube. Super inspiring. They help me to:

  • have less stress
  • procrastinate less
  • push myself to do more (5 more crunches, mark 3 more papers etc)
  • have more control of my thoughts

…all which result in me feeling better. This helps me to make better choices.

2. Getting up Early 

This can be a tough one, but here is what works for me. Last week, I decided I would get up before 6:30 a.m. each day. This week, I have been up before 6:00 a.m. each day. Now, I moved pretty quickly. Anyone could try this by changing more slowly. For example, if you get up at 7:00 a.m., and you really want to be getting up at 6:00, then start week 1 with a 6:50 a.m. time to rise. The next week, go to 6:40 a.m., and so on. It really works. Next thing you know, you have an extra hour, every day to work out, write, read, research, mediate, take time for you etc.

Hoping your journey is healthy.